New data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a detailed overview of traffic deaths on U.S. roads for the first nine months of 2022. While there was a slight decline in fatalities during this period, the total number of deaths is still concerning. Here are some key details and insights from the report:
Overall Traffic Deaths
According to NHTSA, there were an estimated 31,785 traffic deaths from January through September 2022, a 0.2% decrease from the same period in 2021. This marks the second consecutive quarterly decline after seven quarters of year-over-year increases. However, it is important to note that the total number of fatalities is still high, and more needs to be done to improve road safety.
Decreases in Fatalities
NHTSA’s analysis shows that fatalities decreased in several categories during the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Some of the most notable decreases include:
- 10% decrease in deaths of children younger than 16
- 10% reduction on urban collector and local roads
- 9% decrease in vehicle rollover crashes
- 8% decrease in fatalities among people aged 16 to 24
- 7% decrease in crashes involving passengers ejected from a vehicle
- 7% decrease in unbelted individuals in passenger vehicles
- 2% decrease in speeding-related crashes
These decreases are certainly positive, but it is important to continue working towards reducing fatalities across all categories.
Increases in Fatalities
Unfortunately, there were also several categories where fatalities increased during the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. Some of the most concerning increases include:
- 12% increase on rural interstates
- 10% increase in crashes involving at least one large truck
- 8% increase among cyclists
- 5% increase among motorcyclists
- 2% increase among pedestrians
These increases are particularly worrisome, as they indicate that certain groups are at higher risk of being involved in fatal crashes. Addressing the factors that contribute to these increases will be crucial in improving road safety for everyone.
The NHTSA report also provides state-level data on traffic deaths. In Florida, for example, the number of traffic deaths dropped slightly from 2,796 in 2021 to 2,762 in 2022. However, Florida still ranked third in the nation in terms of traffic deaths, behind only Texas and California. Understanding the trends and patterns at the state level can help officials develop targeted interventions to reduce fatalities.
The NHTSA data shows that while there have been some improvements in road safety, there is still much work to be done. By focusing on the categories where fatalities have increased and continuing efforts to reduce fatalities across the board, officials can make progress towards the ultimate goal of zero traffic deaths.